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Foresight Group backs small businesses

Environmental infrastructure asset manager Foresight Group has launched a £20 million funding scheme to help develop small recycling and renewable energy businesses.

The firms Planned Exit Venture Capital Trust is targeting materials recycling and waste to energy firms. However Foresight will also be interested in companies looking at combined heat and power technology and those producing renewable electricity.

Made up from investor funding, a VCT offers private investors tax breaks for investing in green firms. The planned exit refers to the minimum VCT hold of five years the time from when investors can reclaim their money.

Foresights environmental portfolio for previous funding includes plywood manufacturer made from waste 2K Manufacturing and plastic recycler Closed Loop Recycling.

Foresight group sales director Mike Curry said: We as a country have set ourselves enormous environmental targets and done very little, so, firms need to be able to start developing now. Also, if they were to wait another year for when we have completely recovered from the recession there will be a lot more competition in the market. The current conditions also mean that cheaper deals can be done.

The banks are not backing small businesses at the moment so instead businesses like ourselves can give them money and advice.

Furthermore, rule changes to be implemented on the VCT market in the new tax year may mean that there is a limited time horizon for returning shareholder monies. Curry commented: There is certainly an element of last chance to see to this VCT and may make people more interested in taking it up.

Foresight is additionally starting up a £20 million Environmental EIS fund also investing in 6-12 firms focused on recycling, waste to energy and renewable energy technologies.


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